All this week I’ve been highlighting Christmasy things to do in Walt Disney World. On Sunday, I talked about finding references to Christmas all year round. On Tuesday, I covered six activities that are only available during the winter holiday season. That list continues today with some less well-known activities you may not have tried before.
So, here are six more things to do in Walt Disney World if you love Christmas—and you happen to be there in November or December.
1. Holiday decorations resort-hop
Whichever resort you’re staying at, there are going to be holiday decorations to see, but you may not have thought of going to see the decorations at the other resorts. The most impressive display is the giant gingerbread house in Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. It’s large enough to house two cast members selling holiday treats!
When my family is in the World in November or December, we like to take a day to see the holiday decorations in all the resorts on the monorail line. Disney’s Yacht Club and Beach Club Resorts also have impressive displays, including more gingerbread creations and a model train.
You might also consider stopping by Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin, which calls itself “Santa’s favorite resort.” They offer Christmas-related activities, like watching Christmas movies and meeting Santa and Mrs. Claus, most days in the first three weeks of December. You can check the calendar of events on their website.
2. Voices of Liberty
The Voices of Liberty is an a capella vocal group that performs daily or almost daily (check the Times Guide) in the American Adventure pavilion. Usually they sing traditional American songs, but during the holiday season, they switch to carols. Their voices are spectacular, and I love their winter caroling costumes.
3. Watch the taping of the Christmas parade
Disney’s Christmas Day parade is not broadcast live; in fact, it’s filmed over two days in early December. You can usually find the dates posted somewhere online. If you discover you’re going to be in Magic Kingdom on the days they’re taping the parade, expect it to be a madhouse around Main Street, U.S.A. Touringplans.com says that wait times aren’t particularly affected, although I think if you just want a nice day in the parks, you should probably choose a different park those days. But since you’re someone who loves Christmas, seeing the parade taping would be a cool experience. Just remember that it is a television production, so there will be a lot of waiting and reshoots. Also, you may not be able to get into the best viewing areas, because Disney often gives away special tickets to cast members and other groups.
4. Holiday D-Lights Tour
On this tour, you start at Epcot and see the holiday decorations and experience the Candlelight Processional. Then, you travel to Magic Kingdom to see the decorations on Main Street, U.S.A. and see the castle’s holiday lights. Those are all things you can do without being part of a tour, so the real benefit is meeting the Event & Decorating Support teams and the holiday buffet. Those things must not be that popular of a draw, because this evening tour (starting at 4 p.m.) was only offered on nine nights between November 28 and December 14 in 2011. The 2011 price was $199 (no theme park admission required). That’s pretty pricey, and it seems like this next tour is a better value…
5. Yuletide Fantasy Tour
This tour is $84 (again no park admission required) and is offered more frequently than the Holiday D-Lights Tour. The 2011 dates were Monday through Saturday from November 28 to December 30, at 9 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. This tour seems to go more behind-the-scenes. The description on the Disney website says that you get to visit Holiday Services, “a veritable winter wonderland, and meet the Cast Members who create thousands of decorations used to dress up Disney Theme Parks and Resorts.” That sounds pretty cool to me. You also see the holiday decorations in Epcot, Main Street, U.S.A., and a Disney hotel. Both this tour and the Holiday D-Lights Tour can be booked by calling (407) WDW-TOUR.
6. Holiday Sleigh Rides
Ever actually ridden in a one-horse open sleigh? You can at Disney’s Fort Wilderness Resort & Campground. Although you won’t be dashing through the snow, I’m sure it’s a very authentic experience otherwise. It’s offered nightly during the month of December. The ride takes about 25 minutes and is $60 per group (according to DIS).
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Not all of these activities can be done in one day, so you may want to pick one or two that you’ve never done before but would like to try. Personally, I would love to visit Holiday Services on the Yuletide Fantasy Tour! Which of these activities sounds most fun to you?